I couldn't save her. My Auntie died suddenly

Hello, on the evening of 4th April 2024 It was just a normal day. I been to work (I’m self employed, I and own a sweet shop) and looking after my niece. I went to my friends house as we normally would. I had a good time and me and my fiancé left around 10.00 for the short walk home. Nothing wrong you normally sense these things? Nothing.

Got home fed my pets and then settled down in front of the telly. I just got snuggled under my heated throw (I got it free from my energy supplier) and was feeling sleepy and all of a sudden I heard this faint banging sound which gradually got louder. Well a few weeks prior I had police banging the hell out of my door and when I went out to see there were 7 officers and one asking my name and stuff they were looking for someone that lived in my flat before me (turns out it was the other flat above). Anyways I digress , so I immediately thought who the hell could this be it was 11pm. My initial thoughts was it was just kids messing around (we have had drunk teens outside a few weeks ago) so I didn’t immediately react. The banging continued for around 3 mins and I could hear a voice so I muted the TV and opened by living room window- it’s one of them windows that opens right out- and I could hear a male voice and could see a man dressed in a gown, bald head and Zimmer shouting my name. It took me a couple of seconds to realise that it was my uncle (he’s 74, frail) he was desperately shouting for me so I said I’m coming in coming. Frantically searching for my shoes, keys and my coat (it was raining outside) I was panicking at this point thinking wtf is going on here to necessitate my uncle being at my door all I knew he was distressed. I couldn’t get by blasted shoes on quick enough I did eventually and grabbed my coat and keys locked the bloody flat door and immediately exited through the front door.

I found my uncle in a distressed state and he was absolutely freezing cold it was raining and he only had a night gown on. I asked him what was wrong. He told me that my auntie is very unwell and I need to get there quickly! I asked him what’s happened he said I don’t know she is very unwell. Hurry!

I had to leave mt poor uncle in the pouring rain after he said to run and not worry about him. The last thing I remember is running across the road and looking back asking, shouting back will you be okay? He saId yes go!

So I live 5 mins away but time just seemed to go so fast. Mind racing I ran and ran down my street and to their house half expecting my auntie to be there and to tell me she wasn’t feeling well. I opened the door to find my lovely auntie lifeless and unresponsive slumped on the sofa with a laptop and her headphones next to her. Her body was lifeless I shouted to her to try to get a response but I could tell she wasn’t breathing. Her skin was pale (I can’t get that image from my mind) with a pale face and her head slumped to the side and I could see that age had some sort of liquid that’s on her face- sorry to be so graphic,

I immediately dialed 999 for an ambulance placing my phone on the table I shouted down the phone "come quickly it’s my aunty she’s unresponsive and not breathing I’m about to do CPR. I remember the operator telling me I needed to get her off the sofa and on to the floor, I don’t know how I found the strength but I managed to get her down and into the floor the whole time thinking oh don’t bang her head- stupid I know but at time you think about them and not hurting them) I pushed the coffee table right out of the way and got her on the floor and began CPR. I’m first aid trained in this but nothing can prepare you for doing this on a loved one.

I leaped into action and performed CPR 1…2…3…4, 1…2…3,.4. the operator telling me I needed to go about quicker. In the meantime the door was open I spotted a female and male outside they saw my aunt’s body and me doing cpr. I shouted I need a defib! Get me a defib’ go! I was told it was at a nearby care home. They told me that they found my uncle in the street cold and wet and bless them they got him in to their taxi and bought him back home.

It all abit of a blur and I was getting him in when the man told me the ambulance was here. They came in whilst I was still performing CPR and took over. My uncle was sat in his chair. I remember the female paramedic coming around his side to me and starting CPR. She was asking him what happened and when. I was about to get up and outside to allow her other colleague in when she out her bag down by me and she said sir I need your help. Move that bag and then shouting to go and tell her colleague he needed suction. So I did this and this other older paramedic turned up bumped into me. I said sorry, sorry. I then stood outside whilst they attempted life saving. I could hear them asking my uncle what happened and I heard him say 'about an hour or two ago) on hearing this I just knew it was too late! I asked the male who was still with me if I could use his phone to call my fiancé. I told her to come quickly,

I went back in time flat whilst they were still attempting resuscitation and I stood in shock as the paramedics told us that unfortunately it’s had passed away. On hearing this I cried. I was then joined by my future mother in law and she was there as police arrived, we were trying to find a number for my aunt’s kids to tell them) I was in the bedroom trying to call my mum. My phone wouldn’t work. Then my future mum in law offered to go and get my mum. A few mins passed and I was taken into the other room by the police officer whom explained why he was here. It was as coroner and that he would take care of my aunt’s body) she was respectfully covered with a blue hospital blanket. The crew had left at that point.

It’s all abit blurry but I remember the female paramedic taking me to one side in the bedroom and telling me I need to calm down and that I done all I can and my uncle needed me to get strong. I managed to get my phone to call my mum and told her she’d died and at some point my mum arrived and we got her inside and I hugged her tightly. We just sat there in disbelief. Her body was still in the room with us for what felt like an eternity, we sat there. I remember slumping to the floor as the adrenaline was coursing through my body. I felt sick.

The police officer said it normal time feel this way and I will second guess myself about CPR and he was right! Anyways he told us he will need to check the body for any signs of foul play and to record for the coroner. He was very calming and ever so respectful. He removed her jewellery and that my uncle wanted keeping, After a hour wait the private ambulance arrived and I had to leave the room whilst they took hervp away. My uncle refused to leave her side bless him! That was that the scene calmed and the police officer left and we sat in silence consoling each other, my brother got here quick too. My mum took a turn for the worse I forgot to say so I had to call 999 for an ambulance which took her to hospital leaving me and my uncle alone.

I became his carer pretty much overnight and had to do everything for him that my aunt so selflessly did day in day out. It was suggested by paramedics that I contacted my uncles gp for an urgent care support package due to his frailty. I did all this and within a day or so we had carers coming,

I’m so sorry for the long post I just needed to get this off of my chest. Since her passing we arranged a quick direct cremation as that’s what my aunt wanted. Fast forward a couple of days and we met the funeral director whom was so lovely, she informed us that the coroner had released my aunt’s body and that they would take care of her now. We opted for a direct cremation and it was all done within a week. At the immediate aftermath we thought we wouldn’t be able to view her body at the funeral home but we were able to,.

I’m struggling mentally, not sleeping abs having flashbacks. All I can see is my aunt’s dead face, no matter how much I try to picture her as she was alive, happy n healthy. I have been prescribed sleeping pills and something to ease the anxiety and panic. I find these help but I keep seeing her face and going over the incident in my mind, over and over. At night I sleep but then wake after visions of my auntie. I keep going over the CPR did I do it right? The whys and what for. The most pressing issues for me are the flashbacks (doc said it could be PTSD) and that’s why I’m reaching out today. I’m sorry for the long, detailed post but I find it helpful to write it all down. So if you’ve got this far reading thank you! Any advice is much appreciated

1 Like

Hi @Lossngreif1, so sorry for your loss. I can completely understand how you feel, my mam died 10 weeks ago in front of me, one minute healthy laughing and joking the next she slumped back on the sofa being sick and making horrible noises, I too try to save her and unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, worse part was all in the same day the family dog died early afternoon then my dad had a stroke so he wasn’t aware of it all until the next day. I too went over all the ifs and whys and suffered nightmares of seeing my mam die but over the weeks it’s eased and I can now sleep and don’t have the flashbacks as much. What you’re feeling and going through is completely normal, don’t worry. Take the day hour by hour and it will get easier to cope with you will get through it. Keep talking about it to your partner and support around you, and keep posting on here we’ve all been through a rollercoaster of emotions so can help support as much as we can. If you ever want to chat I’m always here. Sending lots of virtual hugs :people_hugging: xx

You were a HERO to your uncle. How amazingly you sprang into action to save the day.

I am so sorry you lost her. And that you now help with him.
Aside from grief, you are the bright spot in this story.